Friday, November 30, 2012

[jules' pics] Autumn colours

Even the toxic waste dump part of town where we work has some pretty red and gold colours at this time of year.
a leaf
new iPod!
In the shop I thought the iPod was green and was surprised to find no such colour option available, only yellow. Depending on the light it can be gold or green (flourescent light is green and tungsten is yellow). Anyway, whatever it is, it is a brilliant colour, especially for someone so good at losing things - hope it doesn't wear off too quickly. The background is the deep red leather of an iPad cover.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/30/2012 04:41:00 PM

Thursday, November 29, 2012

[jules' pics] But then on 25th November...

I found that James had been right all along (as usual) - the cars really are breeding! Clearly one of ths parents of this brother and sister pair is the first car pictured here.
Starbucks parking
Starbucks parking
Starbucks parking

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/29/2012 08:32:00 PM

That xkcd cartoon...

Old news now of course, but this was on xkcd a few weeks ago and Stoat pointed me to it in a comment:

I can't play all innocent because I've made similar jokes myself (eg here). However, I'm at least partly persuaded by Andrew Gelman (the comments thread is also interesting) that it's not an entirely fair criticism. Just because it's a valid frequentist calculation, doesn't make it a sensible one. On the other hand, it does highlight that even frequentists have to make sensible subjective decisions about what sort of analysis they are going to do (eg, which hypotheses to test). Which does knock a big hole in the claim you sometimes hear that frequentist methods are objective.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Was in the local Tokyu Hands recently, and spotted this lovely party costume. As the advertising blurb on the Amazon page states, "It's a foreigner - sure to liven up the party scene". Who knew big noses and blue eyes were so exciting? I'm tempted to buy a set to wear to the work Christmas party, but I'm not sure that nose is big enough to fit over my enormous gaijin hooter.

Sadly, although I searched high and low I couldn't find a set of slitty eyes and bad teeth for when I want to make a party as boring as possible.

Monday, November 26, 2012

[jules' pics] On Nov 18th...

I didn't pass Starbucks, Motomachi, but James did. He claims to have taken these photographs, but I think it more likely that he discovered the "Breed You Own Beetles" game for his new iPod.
Motomachi Bug #1
Motomachi Bug #2
Motomachi Bug #3

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/26/2012 08:28:00 PM

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dialogue or denialogue?

The big blogospheric news is the start-up of the Dutch Climate Dialogue site, which is already being discussed variously elsewhere. Well-intentioned it may be, but I'm not really that impressed by what I've seen so far. Far from being a meaningful dialogue, we seem to have the stereotypical exhibition of a Gish Gallop from Judith Curry, who is obviously relishing her role as an "expert" almost as much as she did being a heretic. Not that she has actually published anything relating to the recent decline (which cannot be reasonably explained, to any substantial degree, by the modes of decadal variability that are usually touted as most relevant). But that doesn't stop her risible "I know nothing, so let's call it 50:50" schtick which I'm way past bored with. I did try to get her to justify herself, but she did the usual duck and weave, and the segregation of plebs from "experts" (together with my second comment being unaccountably held up in moderation for some time) means that there is no possibility of a real discussion. The other experts could arguably do more to hold her to account, but that's not what they signed up for, and I don't really blame them for not bothering.

I certainly see nothing to make me regret my decision to decline their invitation to take one of the "expert" positions in the next topic of climate sensitivity. This was planned to coincide with the big AGU meeting in San Francisco, which I'll be attending, and I hope I'll have more fun things to do there than to struggle with their over-stressed internet connection to subject myself to more of the same old same old. The people invited on the sceptic side (according to the email I was sent) for that discussion are not relevant to the scientific debate, other than as an occasional minor annoyance, and their previous publications on the topic have been debunked in some detail. Of course, it bears repeating that most scientists are generally more interested in doing science, than in debating with "sceptics" or assorted commenters of whatever stripe. Whereas, on the denial side, debate is a valid goal in itself. So the existence of the site is already a win for them.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Polynomial cointegration tests of anthropogenic impact on global warming

Apparently global warming has been refuted, buy some economists writing in Earth System Dynamics:
Were I Judith Curry, I would probably be saying "wow" at this stage. Alternatively, it could just be some dross that has accidentally found its way into print after having been rejected at least twice at different journals.

The review comments are interesting, to say the least. Reviewer #2, in particular, seems awfully keen on a number of silly sceptic claims that have been presented in recent years.

I suppose it just goes to show that you can fool at least one person sometimes, and if that person happens to be a journal editor, you're in luck.

I see this Beenstock thing has done the rounds before, though I'm not sure any of the commenters quite get to grips with it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More betting on global warming

Here's an interesting video here from Mark Boslough (of "pi = 3" fame, among other things).

It is interesting that people from as diverse standpoints as Ross McKitrick can also call for a tax that depends on the temperature rise - not quite the same thing as the bonds that Mark Boslough was describing, but not a million miles away either. Of course the devil is in the details, such as the level of payment/tax required.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[jules' pics] Autumnal flare

I think the unbelievably sunny autumns and winters are probably what keeps some Brits in Japan for too long.
[Motomachi, Yokohama. Taken with my new camera! Actually, the camera was free with my new! gold! iPod!]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/20/2012 02:11:00 PM

Friday, November 16, 2012

[jules' pics] From the ridiculous to the sublime

Where, of course, this is the ridiculous.
The leaves are now starting to turn so I can't delay in posting this photo, taken a couple of weeks ago in Ankokuronji, Kamakura.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/16/2012 03:23:00 PM

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mascot madness

Here in Japan, there isn't much that can't be enhanced by the addition of a cartoon character, preferably fluffy.

We found this "Hello Kitty Doomsday Clock" poster at the recent Asahi Blue Planet winners' lecture. It was being given out freely, and anyone who wants can apply for one here (but probably only for local residents).

It's worth clicking to look at the full size to read the text. Fortunately, it seems like the environment isn't very dangerous these days. This poster now has pride of place in our office.

But perhaps one step better, is the Fukushima Radiation Bird.

Kibitan (as he is known) is warning children not to play near: drains, gutters, puddles, trees, or grass, because of the naughty radiation that will poison you if you get too much of it in your body. So that, not very much of Fukushima for all the little children to play in. Not that there is any need to evacuate, or anything like that. Just don't touch the trees, grass, puddles, gutters, or drains, and don't forget to wash and gargle every time you come in from outdoors, and you'll be just fine. Probably. Now isn't that reassuring?

[jules' pics] Colour or Monochrome?


Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/15/2012 03:07:00 PM

Friday, November 09, 2012

[jules' pics] Grand rivers

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The grand fishermen of the Yellowstone
Fishermen,  Yellowstone
A grand Wolf!
Hayden Valley
More accurately, the wolf appeared a half hour later, but it was only about one pixel in size, so it makes no difference to the photo. A kind woman let us view wolfie through her scope and he looked very much like this.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/09/2012 09:48:00 PM

[jules' pics] Toilet humour

What the Americans lack in technical toiletry they make up for with something called "humor". These excellent signs are examples of this. They make up the decor inside the women's "restroom" at Kind Coffee, Estes Park, where I had a nice rest. I'm told that there was nothing similar in the men's resting area.
Kind Coffee ladies toilets
Kind Coffee ladies toilets
Maybe it's not just frivilous "humor" but actually deep wisdom - the last person who told me "there's plenty of time to sleep when you're dead" is now an FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society). Personally I find the top motto more fitting to my own lifestyle, so I guess I'll never be an FRS.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/09/2012 08:45:00 PM

Thursday, November 08, 2012

[jules' pics] Both kinds of flushing

And then there's the American idea of a technical toilet. Incredibly, you can pull the lever up... and down!
I can't remember the last time I saw a Japanese western-style toilet without dual-flush, which made the attached greenwash seem even more spectacular, "By installing this water-saving handle with dual-function flush, this facility has demonstrated its commitment to protect and preserve the environment".

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/09/2012 07:21:00 AM

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

[jules' pics] let's technical toilet

Location - a posh French resturant in Tokyo. The toilet lid rose to greet me as I entered the bathroom. Next I noticed the unusually large array of buttons on the toilet control panel.
technical toilet controls
As I sat down I accidentally knocked the panel (Japanese bathrooms are not often large). The cover fell to reveal all the buttony options.
technical toilet controls
Luckily there was a a simplified instruction chart explaining basic usage such approaching the NEOREST, washing the rear, drying wet rear and standing up from the toilet seat.
technical toilet Instructions!
I escaped without incident, but an elderly gentlemen of our party had to request flushing assistance from the staff. Later, James reported that the lid decided to come down while he was in mid-piss. Whether the toilet was unprepared for the incredible volume of his bladder, or unable to detect him given his unusual height, I cannot say.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/07/2012 05:02:00 PM

Monday, November 05, 2012

Tokyo 5k

Saturday was the day of the Shonan Marathon (top results here), but as I said, we missed the entry for that, so had another go at the low-key Imperial Palace circuit race that we did back in February. With little in the way of preparation, we went for the shorter 5k option this time. My time of 19:39 was about the same as the first half of my previous 10k, and achieved my main goal of ensuring that I could be in a respectable starting wave if I happen to be in Boulder on Memorial Day next year :-) The front wave would be fun, but I'm not sure where another 1m20s of speed is going to come from. Jules did 25:10 which was about what she was aiming for too.

It's a bit of an odd event as there are lots of joggers of various speeds (not to mention the pedestrians) going round the loop at the same time, so you can't really tell who else is in the race and it's hard to keep track of anyone in front. I let a speedy bunch set off at the start and hence felt like I was in a bit of a vacuum most of the way round. I think I must have overtaken a couple of them down the hill without realising they were racing, as some others finished only a few seconds back. Including a 12 year old girl. Losing to her would have been a bit of a blow to the ego.

Not sure how much help my new toy was. It did tell me I was going too fast at the start (which I already realised) which encouraged me to let the fast group race off ahead. But then it was mostly depressing on the long uphill stretch when it told me I was some way off my intended pace. It also drifted off position and got the altimetry badly wrong (there is just one steady hill, not a roller-coaster), and under-measured by about 60m assuming the course is really 20m short. But the heart rate was useful.

[jules' pics] A flower

Unless someone has been out guerilla gardening, this butiful flower has planted itself in the little scrape of soil that we call "our garden"!
pink flower
It looks like a relative of the higanbana. Higanabana are also called equinox lillies, because they shoot up around mid-September. Our garden is cold and dark so a month's delay isn't surprising. It is, however, surprising that it made it as far as actually flowering.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/05/2012 11:29:00 AM

Sunday, November 04, 2012

[jules' pics] More mantis

Matilda seems to have disappeared from the wisteria, but Gertrude is hanging out on the house. Gertrude is a very small giant asian mantis, and it is a bit surprising that s/he is not dead yet. Not only not dead, s/he is still skinning up drain pipes.
Mantis - Giant Asian
The worrying thing is that when I search for Giant Asian Mantis on Google to check what the species looks like, the second image is one I took (although hosted on some other website). This almost as bad as the time I searched for information about a scientific concept that I didn't know much about, found an interesting link that I thought might enlighten me, and was very disappointed to discover a link to one of my own papers. Is must be the fault of Google, trying to find pages it thinks I want to find? Are there internet universes out there that I can never discover?

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/04/2012 07:32:00 PM

Friday, November 02, 2012

[jules' pics] boardwalk

Upper Geyser Basin

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/02/2012 04:40:00 PM